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Referring to several recent press reports, the petitioner has submitted that “the situation on ground level remains unchanged as the journey of a migrant worker back home is no less than a nightmare.”
A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions for the Centre to instruct local authorities to provide temporary shelter, food, medical assistance, and transport facilities to the migrant workers who continue to be stranded amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition filed by Advocate Nachiketa Vajpayee also urges the Court to direct the Centre to submit a status report vis-a-vis migrant workers across the country, as was directed by the Court in its order of March 31 in the case of Alakh Alok Srivastava vs Union of India.
The petitioner claims that the fundamental rights of millions of persons stranded across the country are continue to be grossly violated, causing them immense distress, despite the best efforts of the government. It is stated that the compliance of the Court's order of March 31 remains ineffective.
The petitioner goes on to outline the hardships faced by the workers who have taken to walking to complete their long arduous journey back home. It is noted that despite the steps taken by the government authorities, not all migrant workers have been able to secure a spot in the transport facilities provided. Further the plea also says that the local authorities have not handled the situation carefully. The plea adds,
"It is observed that the local authorities/police officials are not handling the situation as per the protocols and guidelines issued by the Respondent to contain the pandemic."
The petitioner also refers to several news reports on the migrant crisis brought about following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown to state that they only provide a small glimpse into the “immense, countless, unimaginably inhuman hardships being faced not by hundreds but by thousands of migrant workers stranded across the country."
It is added that despite the best efforts of the Government, "millions of persons, due to persistently unfortunate circumstances, are forced to suffer unimaginable inhuman hardships, leading thereby to continuous violations of their fundamental and most basic human rights."
The petitioner says that in various States such as Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana that the situation has gone out of hand with blatant violations of the precautionary measures directed to be taken by the Centre. Despite Centre's best efforts, the fundamental rights of millions of these people are being violated, even though the same is unintended, it is said.
To highlight how dire the plight of the workers, it is pointed out that their sufferings have been taken note of by the NHRC as well.
In light of the same, the petitioner has urged the Supreme Court instruct the Centre to direct local authorities to provide basic facilities such as temporary shelter, food, medicine and transport facilities for these migrant workers.
Further, the petitioner has also put forward certain "suggestive measures" to tackle the crisis, including the setting up of “social monitoring committees” which may be dedicated to providing aid to migrant workers at district levels.
The petition has been filed through Advocate Deepak Prakash.